The Chinese

The Chinese first came to Sarawak as traders and explorers in the 6th Century. Today, they make up 29% of the population of Sarawak and comprise of communities built from the economic migrants of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The first Chinese migrants worked as laborers in the gold mines at Bau or on plantations. Through their clan associations, business acumen and work ethic, the Chinese organized themselves economically and for commerce.

The Sarawak Chinese belong to a wide range of dialect groups, the most significant being Hokkien, Foochow, Hakka, Teochew, Cantonese and Henghua. Hokkien and Mandarin are the most widely spoken dialects. The Chinese maintain their ethnic heritage and culture and celebrate all the major cultural festivals, most notably Chinese New Year and the Hungry Ghost Festival. The Sarawak Chinese are predominantly Buddhists and Christians.